6 Flexible Workspace Trends for 2021

6 flexible workspace trends 2021
It’s becoming a yearly habit and we are absolutely okay with that. It’s time for our yearly predictions on flexible workspace trends! While we’re no sorcerers with magical crystal balls, we do work closely with flexible workspaces globally and that should at least make us well-qualified to make some educated jabs.

While some of our expectations for 2020 were spot on, we were blatantly wrong for at least an equal amount of them. 2020 has had its fair share of twists and unexpected challenges. *Cough* Covid *cough*. However, it has also taught us new ways of dealing with such challenges and has made us more resilient to them.

Here’s what we found (you won’t be disappointed)!

 

Claim #1: workspaces worldwide will adopt a super hybrid way of working

Let’s kick-off this list of workspace trends with a banger.

Flexworking has been steadily on the rise for a few years now. 2019 shaped out to be a solid year for flexwork adoption. 2020 however, was in a completely different ballpark. People worldwide were literally forced to work from home for months on end. While this brought its fair share of annoyance at first, people are great at adapting. More and more employees and employers alike are beginning to see the benefits of working from home and are planning on incorporating it into their post-covid work week.

Interesting fact: a CFO survey commissioned by Gartner, showed that 74% of CFO’s intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently.

With such a shift in mentality making its way into the corporate world, a new set of challenges to overcome presents itself. How do you keep track of who is working from home and who isn’t? How do your employees keep track of it and where do they communicate what their workstation will be for the day?

Luckily there is an easy solution that makes hopping on board of the flexworking-express intuitive and simple. With a hotdesk booker, managing your office spaces and employee’s workstations becomes so easy, a child could do it (disclaimer: we don’t recommend having children operate your hotdesk booker).

Claim #2: specialized serviced offices will boom

A workspace trend that’s already well in motion: niche workspaces are popping up in cities all around the globe. And for a good reason too. While the demand for flexible workspaces is bound to go up as companies look for alternative ways of working, so does the competition. Especially so when larger corporates are planning to rent out their empty spaces as flexible offices. Serviced offices will have to adapt and look at ways to stay ahead of the competition. But how?

Partnerships

One thing we’ve seen serviced offices do is partnering up with big corporates. A cooperation that seems beneficial for both parties. By offering private offices, smaller workspaces can offer an attractive solution to big companies who want to save money on their location.

Offer the right tech

Whether you’re a corporate looking to sublet offices, or a serviced office trying to get more customers; you’ll want to attract tenants with the right set of technology. An online desk booking system seems like a no-brainer. However, there are more tools to differentiate yourself, such as: a visitor management system, a meeting room booking system, multi-location tools, community tools, and issue reporting tools. As luck would have it, we at zapfloor offer all these tools and more! #shamelessplug

Specialize

Something big corporates have a harder time with, is including some form of specialization in their workspace offer. Unless of course, that specialization carries over to their main business. Flexible offices that are focused on a niche target audience, will most likely not have to deal with as much competition from big corporates. A couple of niche workspaces that we have seen are:

  • female-only workspaces
  • out-of-city workspaces
  • coworking spaces for parents
  • kitchen coworking spaces
  • coworking spaces for a certain discipline (for example a coworking space for musicians)

Coworkies.com wrote a book that goes in-depth on all kinds of niche workspaces. If you’re interested in the subject, be sure to check it out!

Claim #3: multilocation management will become increasingly important

Covid-19 caused a worldwide re-evaluation of the importance of personal space. Social distancing has become a term that is widely adopted by people anywhere in the world. What this means for corporates and serviced offices alike, is that a critical analysis of the available facilities will become crucial. How can companies ensure a safe environment for their employees and tenants, while still retaining the same occupancy?

Smarter space management will go a long way, but there is only so much moving a few desks around can achieve. Companies will have to look into expanding to more workspaces, floors, and buildings. That expansion will see a rise in demand for multilocation management tools. Check out how we at zapfloor handle multiplication management!

Claim #4: automation & the Internet of Things will steal the spotlight

This workspace trend has been on the rise for a while now: “the Internet of Things”. A term first brought to life in 1999. Yet, the past few years have taken this concept and have launched it to new altitudes.

The demand for seamless integrations and automation is growing rapidly. ‘The Internet of Things’ has been a hot topic for a few years already now, and it’s only become more relevant in today’s society. Everything needs to be fast and easy. The very same applies to work facilities.

People working at the office need to be able to connect to all the devices and tools they’re used to, with as little hassle as possible. Enter integrations.

Entire facilities will become fully ‘connected’ to the management platform it’s operating on. That can range from the ability to book a meeting room, to checking in and out, to booking a parking spot, or even to something as simple as opening a door. Heck, we won’t stop there: there are spaces with sensors that detect whether or not a desk is still occupied. If vacant, it will check if the attendant still needs it and update its booking system accordingly. Integrations and automatization are bound to expand even more over the coming years.

Claim #5: offices will need advanced floor plans

Imagine the following: your company has been largely unoccupied due to Covid-restrictions. The restrictions soften and people gradually start coming back to work at the office. However, rules still demand social distancing to be upheld. Where a group of five people used to sit at a desk together, now two people are allowed, at best. How do you communicate this to your workforce?

An integrated floor plan with your booking system could offer an easy solution. Visually show your employees which workstations are occupied, which are vacant, and for how long. Booking a desk becomes as simple as tapping a button. It doesn’t end there. Easily change the number of available seats by using a built-in calculator that checks the space for optimal occupancy. That way, you won’t need complicated spreadsheets or an overburdened mailbox with booking requests.

Claim #6: online will become the norm for community building

Community managers have long ago switched to an omnichannel approach when it comes to keeping their community members engaged. Physical events haven’t been the sole way of keeping in touch for a while now and Covid has only hammered that in even more.

Nowadays, companies use private groups on social media, WhatsApp groups, Slack servers, and more (such as our very own employee/member boards). Even day to day communication has moved from talking face-to-face, to meeting on applications such as Zoom. But are there any other ways companies can keep in touch with their employees or members?

Online events are one way to do it, but they usually work better with smaller teams. If you plan on hosting an online event, definitely check how many people would be interested in joining and adjust accordingly. A couple of fun ideas we’ve seen companies try are:

A pub quiz

A good old fashioned quiz! We like this because it’s easy to set up, it doesn’t have to take too long, and you can customize it however you like. To avoid chaos and people yelling out answers over each other, you can try an app like Kahoot to set things up!

An online Escape Room

Before Covid, Escape Rooms had been rising in popularity. However, just because you can’t meet up in group, doesn’t mean this option is completely off the table. Virtual Escape Rooms are a thing! Now, obviously, this will be a tricky one to try out with bigger groups, so we recommend you limit your group size. There are a lot of virtual Escape Rooms out there, so with a little bit of Googling, you’ll be sure to find one you like!

Pictionary, but online

Pictionary is great fun and hilarious to play. Especially if your drawing skills are as bad as some of ours are. At zapfloor, we once organized a teambuilding event where we played skribbl.io. Which is basically Pictionary, but online.

Drinks and talks

Sometimes, it’s better not to reinvent the wheel if the wheel is working perfectly fine. Just organize a Zoom meeting, grab a beer or a glass of wine (or something non-alcoholic, the alcohol is optional), and get to know each other. It’s a great way to expand your network and talk to colleagues outside of a working context.

Those are just a couple of ideas. You can always ask what your employees or members think by asking them on your social boards! One thing to keep in mind, however, is that organizing events like the ones mentioned above is a fine line to walk. While online events are great, not everyone is always as keen to socialize or to make friends amongst colleagues or coworkers. Never force attendance to these events, be it directly or indirectly.

Conclusion

That’s it! You’re fully up to speed with our workspace trends predictions for the year. We think it’s going to be a year with its fair share of challenges. However, we also think companies have learned a lot from what 2020 had to teach. This year will be about implementing what we learned and creating a working environment with strong digital roots.

Interested to see how we can help you achieve that?

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